Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

With one of the most literal titles in recent memory, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken tells the remarkable true story of a group of childhood friends who kidnapped the Heineken beer tycoon and held him for ransom in Amsterdam in 1983. Director Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played With Fire) imbues the movie with many of the conventions of a heist film, except instead of robbing a bank or stealing money from a casino, his criminals are stealing a human being. While the specific events of this film are admittedly unique, the themes are as old as time itself: living in a tough economy, yearning for a better life, and eventually, greed as the cause of a downfall.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Anthony Hopkins



Friday, February 27, 2015

The Salvation

The Salvation is the latest in a long line of western revenge thrillers, and if you've seen two or three films in that subgenre, you'll know exactly how this story is going to play out from the first two minutes. But while that predictability can often lead to a boring, disengaged viewing experience, this movie is elevated by strong performances from its lead actors. It's about as straightforward a genre piece as you'll ever find, and at a quick 92 minutes, it doesn't waste any time getting where it needs to go.

The Salvation
Director: Kristian Levring
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Eva Green



Friday, February 13, 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

The original Hot Tub Time Machine had a catchy hook, but once the insanity of the premise wore off, it ended up being a mostly passable comedy with a handful of decent jokes. Bereft of the first film's originality, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is just a tired riff on what we've already seen. It's a standard, by-the-book sequel: take the same basic characters and put them in essentially the same situation they were in before, then tweak a few details to try to spice it up. Sure, it has a few funny moments, but does that justify spending another hour and a half with these characters? In this case, I don't think so.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Director: Steve Pink
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service is a sharp, stylish, spectacular spy film that offers more pure entertainment than any Bond film ever made. It's the antithesis of its overly serious contemporaries, a rare combination of action, humor, and character building that left me wanting to instantly see a sequel.

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine